Vibrant colours, generations of families coming together and a message of friendship in troubled times – thousands of people in Sandwell took part in a celebration marking the birthday of the founder of the Sikh religion.
BIRMINGHAM, UK—Members of the Sikh community paraded through West Bromwich and Smethwick to honor Guru Nanak Dev Ji on Wednesday.
Roads were closed to allow the colourful display to make its way through the streets during a four-hour journey with some worshippers walking bare-footed.
And the brisk winter temperatures failed to deter crowds that turned out to watch the procession marking a highlight of the Sikh calender.
Members of eight gurdwaras in the borough took part linking the towns in celebration with around 15,000 people thought to have joined the parade.
Organisers, who are part of Sandwell Sikh Council, were delighted with the turnout and the streets flooded by people.
Parmjit Singh Dhillion, the president of the Baba Sang Ji Gurdwara in Smethwick, said it had been a positive event in the wake of recent overseas terror attacks.
“It was nice to see so many people. It is right that people have come together,” he said.
“For our Vaisakhi parade in April it is usually warmer and it was a lot colder for people, but they still wanted to take part.
“The event is a force for good in these times.”
The parade is known as Nagar Kirtan and is jointly organised between the eight gurdwaras.
People began gathering at the Guru Har Rai Gurdwara in George Street, West Bromwich, at around 10am and finished in Smethwick High Street around 2pm.
Food and cups of tea were also served up as part of the festivities which included open-air prayers and drumming.